London was a dream. Or so I thought, but I woke up the morning after our inaugural London FemTechLeaders meetup with message after message from the women and men who attended, confirming that the evening had, in fact, not been a dream. Those bruises from my repeated pinches to myself the prior evening were proof to how real the night had been.
Lloyds Digital Hub warmly welcomed us, their support underscored by Digital Director Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, as he opened the evening. Miguel emphasized how Lloyds is committed to creating a team as diverse as the customers it serves, and how crucial it is to include different perspectives, experiences, and view points as they foster creative ways to solve problems, develop new services, and better reflect the needs of so many different customers.
Miguel’s words are testament to the practical need for diversity in business, and to how diversity in any organization enriches the whole community.
Looking out into the group who had gathered, mind you we had over 100 people sign up, as they stood shoulder to shoulder, what struck me was how beautifully unique each member of this group is. Bankers, developers, change-agents, customer advocates, startup founders – all sorts of rabble rousers – under one roof, eagerly making connections, forming new friendships, catching up with old friends, bonding, laughing.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality,” John Lennon once said. This thought gripped me as I had the opportunity to meet each person there, the truth of it sinking in as our introduction handshakes morphed into warm embraces. Together we create reality, together we change our corner of the world, and together we take the spirit of collaboration out into our workplaces, our homes, our relationships, to let the dream bleed beyond the edges we see to the horizons in the distance far past the limits of our vision.
Am I romanticizing this? Perhaps. Technology is sharp edged, practical, grounded in logic, rational. It’s not terribly emotional. And yet the FemTech movement is emotional, social, warm and enveloping. The bright smiles and shining eyes, the enthusiasm and passion the people in this community share highlight our common humanity. We feel, we connect, we create, we work together: the tools we use are sterile and sharp, the work we do methodical and rational, but the intentions that drive us are rooted in emotions of empathy, compassion, concern.
Last Wednesday night was emotional for me. Gratitude overwhelms me still, my heart sweetly aches as I reflect on how much support flowed to make the evening possible. Individual contributions created a whole, and it happened in Sydney, in New York, now in London. And it continues to grow, with other branches of this FemTech tree sprouting across the globe – a FemTech Family tree. There will be family reunions in these cities, and in new ones, and as a FemTech family member, you are always welcome to any reunion, wherever your travels may take you.
Dreams are real – they are made of up viewpoints, images, memories, and hopes. How rich, how beautiful dreams can be when they are made of diverse viewpoints, images, memories, and hopes. This morning, as I pen these thoughts, my appreciation for the differences and diversity this FemTech family brings to the collective dream turns to love for each one of the people who are part of this community.
My testament is this: dreams do come true, and if we dare to share those dreams with others, together we can create the sweetest of realities.